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Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Peer Effects in Early Education

  • Matthew Neidell
  • Jane Waldfogel
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    We examine peer effects in early education by estimating value added models with school fixed effects that control extensively for individual, family, peer, and teacher characteristics to account for the endogeneity of peer group formation. We find statistically significant and robust spillover effects from preschool on math and reading outcomes, but statistically insignificant effects on various behavioral and social outcomes. Of the behavioral and social effects explored, we find that peer externalizing problems, which most likely capture classroom disturbance, hinder cognitive outcomes. Our estimates imply that ignoring spillover effects significantly understates the social returns to preschool.

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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14277.

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    Date of creation: Aug 2008
    Date of revision:
    Publication status: published as Neidell, Matthew and Jane Waldfogel. “Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Peer Effects in Early Education,” Review of Economics and Statistics, 92(3), 2010.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14277
    Note: CH ED HE PE
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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    1. Patrick Bayer & Randi Hjalmarsson & David Pozen, 2007. "Building Criminal Capital behind Bars: Peer Effects in Juvenile Corrections," NBER Working Papers 12932, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Ammermüller, Andreas & Pischke, Jörn-Steffen, 2006. "Peer Effects in European Primary Schools: Evidence from PIRLS," CEPR Discussion Papers 5660, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Weili Ding & Steven F. Lehrer, 2006. "Do Peers Affect Student Achievement in China's Secondary Schools?," NBER Working Papers 12305, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman & Lance Lochner & Dimitriy V. Masterov, 2005. "Interpreting the Evidence on Life Cycle Skill Formation," NBER Working Papers 11331, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Sandra E. Black, 1997. "Do better schools matter? Parental valuation of elementary education," Research Paper 9729, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    6. Angrist, Joshua & Lang, Kevin, 2004. "Does School Integration Generate Peer Effects? Evidence from Boston's Metco Program," IZA Discussion Papers 976, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Arcidiacono, Peter & Nicholson, Sean, 2005. "Peer effects in medical school," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2-3), pages 327-350, February.
    8. Daron Acemoglu & Joshua Angrist, 1999. "How Large are the Social Returns to Education? Evidence from Compulsory Schooling Laws," Working papers 99-30, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
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